Reusable Packaging News September 2017 - Page 10

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RPN

RPN

Still No Respect: Australian Industry Survey Continues to Look at Pallets as “Necessary Evil”; Challenged by Pallet Management and Loss

In spite of hype about Internet of Things, Big Data, food hygiene and more emerging trends, a new pallet survey from Australia shows that pallets still are viewed as a necessary evil rather than as an opportunity to enhance their supply chains. Offered as an online survey, the Australian Pallet Survey 2017 received responses from 81 Australian business in May and June. Industry consultations generated further insights. The report (citing research from Freedonia) indicates that there are currently about 140 million pallets in the Australian pool with an annual replacement of 56 million pallets (which given the typical rule of thumb of six pallets per person for a developed economy, seems reasonable for a population of around 25 million people – RL).

According to the report, the pallet is perceived as a necessary piece of equipment with little intrinsic value in relation to the product supply chain. This view persists, in spite of indications that companies incur significant costs associated with their inability to control and manage pallet usage.

The report notes that this viewpoint may change in the future as trends such as “whole of the supply chain” product planning, increased material handling automation and tracking technologies become more entrenched. No doubt, pallet buyers will be influenced more in the years to come by such strategic priorities, in those supply chains where the value is perceived to be the greatest.

Survey respondents cited cost as the prevailing concern for companies which buy or rent pallets. Daily rental price (51% of respondents), purchase price (38%), cost per use (15%) and total cost per year (28%) were selected. Other key factors included:

• Customer requirements

• Strength

• Durability

• Rackability

• Ability to reuse the pallet without repair

• Safety

• Availability

• Ability to clean the pallet

• Meeting regulatory requirements

• Contamination

• Weight

• Repairability

• Ease of disposal

• Recyclability and life cycle impacts.